BULLS head coach Eamon O’Carroll is glad to have powerful weapons on his bench to change the game, but would much rather they were complementing the good work that had gone before.

Bradford eventually breezed past North Wales Crusaders 48-2 in the Challenge Cup third round yesterday afternoon to set up a home tie against Widnes Vikings in a fortnight, but they made a turgid, error-strewn start.

That left them behind their League 1 opposition on the scoreboard with 22 minutes gone, and exactly like in the friendly with Leeds a fortnight earlier, it was the Bulls interchanges who grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.

Keven Appo and Dan Okoro came off the bench and made an instant impression, punching constant holes on the visiting defence to eventually break them down.

Assessing what seems to be becoming a pattern, O’Carroll said: “I’d rather us start well and be able to complement that with some of their vigour and what they do coming off the bench.

“We could look at it negatively, and it’s something we’re aware of, but what I’m really pleased about is that the team know that they aren’t always doing well enough early on and they respond, in spectacular fashion sometimes.

“That’s down to the players, not to me or anyone else, they want to respond.

“While we do need to be starting games better, I don’t think we’re doing too badly early on.

“We’re posing some problems, the boys are playing some good rugby, but we just want to be better.”

Though Bulls improved significantly as the game wore on, it was not the most exciting affair.

But it was lit up by a couple of moments of brilliance from Bradford’s on-loan full-back Aidan McGowan, who skipped and danced his way through for the home side’s third try, then had a huge hand in their sixth, after a scorching run down the right helped set George Flanagan up to score.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The respect is mutual between Aidan McGowan and the Bulls fans, with the young loanee having made an eye-catching start in the red, amber and black.The respect is mutual between Aidan McGowan and the Bulls fans, with the young loanee having made an eye-catching start in the red, amber and black. (Image: Tom Pearson.)

Talking about the ‘X Factor’ the 21-year-old Huddersfield Giants prospect can bring to Bulls’ games this season, especially when they are tight and turgid, O’Carroll said: “He does give us that and we’re quite lucky that there’s a few lads in the team who can do the same.

“But I need to highlight to the team that that comes off the back of how hard we’re carrying the ball, how well we’re supporting and how we’re owning the ruck.

“We speak about doing that a lot, because the more we do that, the more those types of players like Aidan can step into the game.

“We can’t just expect them to go and create something, we have to create something for them in terms of our go forward and winning some rucks.”